National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR), or Business Rates, collected by local councils are the means by which businesses and others who occupy non-domestic property make a contribution towards the cost of local services. The council is responsible for the collection of the rates but must pay half of the forecasted amount to central government. This money, together with revenue from council taxpayers, revenue support grant provided by the Government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by your local council and other local authorities in your area.
Apart from properties that are exempt from Business Rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is normally set by the Valuation Officers of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of the Inland Revenue. It draws up and maintains a full list of all rateable values, which are available on their website at www.voa.gov.uk. The rateable value of your property will be shown on the front of your bill. The rateable value broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. For the revaluation that came into effect on 1st April 2010, this date was set as 1st April 2008.
The Valuation Officer may alter the value if circumstances change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can appeal against the value shown in the list if they believe it is wrong. Further information about the grounds on which appeals may be made and the process for doing so can be found on the VOA website, or from the Valuation Office. Their address is: Non-domestic Rates North East, Valuation Office Agency, Cathedral Court, Second Floor, 1 Vicar Lane, Sheffield, S1 1HD. Telephone 03000 501501.
Please note that, if you submit an appeal against your rateable value, you cannot withhold payment, or any part of the payment, pending settlement of your appeal.
National non-domestic rating multiplier
The local council works out the business rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate multiplier. There are two multipliers; the standard non-domestic rating multiplier and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier. The former is higher, to pay for small business rate relief. Except in the City of London where special arrangements apply , the Government sets the multipliers for each financial year for the whole of England according to formulae set by legislation. Between revaluations the multipliers change each year in line with inflation and to take account of the cost of small business rate relief. In the year of revaluation the multipliers are rebated to account for overall changes to total rateable value and to ensure that the revaluation does not raise extra money for Government. The current multipliers are shown on the front of your bill.
Revaluation 2010 and transitional arrangements
All rateable values are reassessed every five years at a general revaluation. The current rating list is based on the 2010 revaluation. Five yearly revaluations make sure each ratepayer pays their fair contribution and no more, by ensuring that the share of the national rates bill paid by any one ratepayer reflects changes over time in the value of their property relative to others. Revaluation does not raise extra money for Government.
Whilst the 2010 revaluation did not increase the amount of rates collected nationally, within this overall picture, over a million properties saw their business rate liabilities reduced and some ratepayers saw an increase.
For those that would otherwise have seen significant increases in their rates liability, the Government put in place a £2 billion transitional relief scheme to limit and phased in changes in rate bills as a result of the 2010 revaluation. To help pay for the limits on increases in bills, there were also limits on reductions in bills. Under the transition scheme, limits continued to apply to yearly increases and decreases until the full amount was due (rateable value times the appropriate multiplier). If there were changes to the property after 1st April 2010, transitional arrangements did not normally apply to the part of a bill that related to any increase in rateable value due to those changes. Changes to your bill as a result of other reasons (such as because of changes to the amount of small business rate relief) are not covered by the transitional arrangements.
The transitional arrangements were applied automatically and shown on the front of your bill. Further information about transitional arrangements and other reliefs may be obtained from North East Lincolnshire Council or the website www.businesslink.gov.uk
More information on revaluation 2010 can be found at www.voa.gov.uk
Unoccupied property rating
Business Rates are not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order. In most cases the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs. In addition there are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property rate. Full details on exemptions can be obtained from North East Lincolnshire Council. If the unoccupied property rate for the financial year has been reduced by order, it will be shown on the front of your bill.
Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about the rateable value of their rates bill. Appeals against rateable values can be made free of charge. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institute of Revenues and Rating (IRRV) are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. Before you employ a rating adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract.